The Public and Private Problem of Euthanasia: A Comparison of the Netherlands and the United States

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Euthanasia is an emerging public problem. The recent "medicalization" of the dying process in industrialized nations has engendered a fear of a painful and undignified death and the loss of control over one's final days. For people who live in societies with advanced medical resources and technology, euthanasia seems the only sure way to have "a good death." This article examines the public and private faces of euthanasia and provides another moral lens through which to view the issue. The article includes an interview with the son of a 78-year-old man who had active euthanasia performed by a family physician in the Netherlands.

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